Monday, May 11, 2009

Papal Visit

So, Pope Benedict is in Jerusalem. If I didn't know this from the news, I could have heard it from classmates who live right next to where his helicopter landed and could have taken his picture (and perhaps did) quite easily.
All day people were talking about it. Mostly about pain-in-the-butt road closings, but also about their discomfort with the Pope, who was a member of the Hitler Youth. I also heard some people who are upset because the Pope is visiting ALL of Jerusalem, and yet there aren't Israeli flags in the East Jerusalem side, although the West Jerusalem side has been peppered with them for the occasion. I've heard some people who are happy about it because it's an honor that the Pope is coming, but frankly, that attitude seems pretty few and far between. The most frequent response is, "I hope that he leaves soon." (again, mostly with regard to traffic considerations).
Today I was taking the bus home and the bus came to a closed major road. He was going to go a different route and many people were upset because where he was going was nowhere near where we needed to be. So he let us off somewhere in the middle of the road in what we learned quickly was a closed area - we couldn't get anywhere because it was all blocked off by police and we thought we would have to be there for two hours, listening to the "He rose again" celebrants with their big Jesus poster sing "G-d loves us" songs. Fortunately, one student finally convinced the policemen to let us through the barriers so we could go home, about a half hour after the bus dropped us off. We walked through a Hassidic neighborhood, most of us not knowing exactly where we were, until we came to the emptied streets of the center city, and arrived home, safe and sound.

If you want to read about the Pope's visit, allow me to recommend:,7340,L-3713684,00.html

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